Preventing holiday fires is as simple as using common sense
WILLMAR -- By taking a few precautions and using common sense, you can prevent the risk of a holiday season fire in your home. The Willmar Fire Department sees an increase in calls to home fires at the holiday time, according to Fire Chief Marv C...
WILLMAR -- By taking a few precautions and using common sense, you can prevent the risk of a holiday season fire in your home.
The Willmar Fire Department sees an increase in calls to home fires at the holiday time, according to Fire Chief Marv Calvin. The U.S. Fire Administration research shows that in Minnesota, the number of home fires increases by 30 percent during the holiday season.
First, make sure to water live Christmas trees daily and monitor the tree to make sure it hasn't dried out, he said.
"Check the tree daily to see if it is taking water," Calvin said. He added that if the tree has been in the house since the day after Thanksgiving, you should plan on moving it out soon after the Christmas presents are opened.
To tell if a tree is dried out, cup your hand around a branch, apply light pressure and pull your hand forward.
"If you get a handful of needles, it's time to move the tree outside," he said.
Also, it may be tempting to burn the heaps of crumbled wrapping paper in the fireplace or wood stove, but the fire chief warns against that method of disposal as it could cause a chimney fire.
"The paper burns hotter than the rating of the appliance and of the chimney flue," he says.
Other good reminders include making sure guests to the home know two ways to get out in case of a fire, making sure all exits are not blocked and that all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working on each level of the home. Also, make sure there is at least three feet of clearance between space heaters and combustibles.
Other safety suggestions from the U.S. Fire Administration:
- Unplug holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Don't overload electrical outlets.
- Keep candles away from combustibles.
- Never leave cooking unattended.